Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
The emergence of currency redesign, naira swap and cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has continued to have negative impact on citizens especially those doing businesses in Anambra State.
Nigerians in Anambra State are becoming more frustrated amid the naira scarcity since the CBN’s decision to redesign the notes of the three largest naira denominations: N200, N500 and 1,000.
Citizens have been spending their productive hours queuing in banks to access the new naira notes from the Automated Teller Machines (ATM). Queues for withdrawal of the new N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from ATMs have persisted in various banks in Awka Metropolis causing hardships for residents.
Nigerians who troop to banks in cities and towns in Anambra are greeted by heavy queues with many going home with nothing at the end of the day.
A visit to some banks located along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway including Access Bank and Fidelity Bank showed many people, both old and young, in queues waiting patiently to withdraw the new naira notes from their accounts.
Speaking to Ikengaonline correspondent, Mrs Ozioma Nweke, lamented that she left her house in the early hours to withdraw money from the Automated Teller Machines inside the Access Bank but had not done so.
She blamed the development on the new CBN monetary policy, which she said caused scarcity of the new naira notes.
She appealed to the Central Bank to look into the policy with a view to making amends where necessary to ease the suffering of the masses.
Ikengaonline Correspondent who monitored the situation in some markets in Awka including Eke Awka, Eke Amawbia and Nkwo Amaenyi observed that traders record little or no sales, as many of them were spotted seating and gazing into the air without any customer to patronise them.
Some of the traders who spoke to the Correspondent said that their daily sales have drastically declined as they are sparingly patronised, even though some of them purchased POS machines to make things easier, but are still faced with network challenges.
For Mr Kelvin Iloh, a shoe seller at Eke Amawbia, “This has become worrisome as even the electronic banking viewed as alternatives to the cashless policy has continue to experience glitches seriously affecting our means of livelihood.”
According to him, the situation may degenerate to Nigerians resorting to stealing and other social vices as a way of surviving the persisting situation in the country.
Mrs Elizabeth, a buyer in Eke Awka, said she spends hours in the market trying to purchase some household needs like foodstuff without success due to the shortage of cash and the technological glitches.
“I have been in the market for over two hours trying to buy foodstuff and other necessities without success. I came to market with no cash and poor network could not allow me buy the things I need.”
Mr Godwin Echem said he was in the market to buy a travelling bag but got stranded because the seller claimed not to have received the money transferred to his account.
Others lamented that many people can no longer feed or solve problems with their own money in the banks, especially the aged and those with little or no technological knowledge.
Elsewhere in various motor parks in Awka, drivers and passengers lamented about the new development, noting that the policy has resulted in low influx of passengers.
They said that passengers find it difficult to pay for their trips and therefore resort to paying through transfer which is most times interfered with as a result of poor network service, causing delays and losses on their part.
A park manager in one of the parks in the Awka, Obi Ikenna, told our Correspondent that the number of trips his park covers per day has been greatly reduced because passengers do not have cash to travel.
He noted that some drivers are not technologically sound, hence it is difficult for them to make the necessary purchases for a trip. He also said that the policy is not a bad one, but implementation is the major challenge.
On their part some of the passengers expressed dissatisfaction with how the policy is being implemented, noting that they are forced to spend more money to transport themselves as a result of additional POS charges.
Ikengaonline had reported that the Supreme Court had ruled on Friday that the old naira notes would remain legal tenders until December 31 this year.